The Perfect Family Getaway at the Emerson Resort and Spa

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As my loyal readers know, I am a beach girl through and through. Honestly, most of our trips are pilgrimages to warm weather destinations, although last summer we did a city trip to Montreal and this September we are heading to Italy for the first time as a family. And even though the beach is my preferred vacation spot, I like to explore everything! Which is why I was so excited to visit the Emerson Resort and Spa, located in the Catskill Mountains of New York State! I knew this would be a different and unique experience for my kids, visiting a mountain resort! And the Emerson did not disappoint! We had a beyond fabulous time and I strongly encourage any family looking for some rest & relaxation, to consider a stay at the Emerson!

Emerson Resort and Spa
photos courtesy of the Emerson Resort and Spa


Momma to Go was invited to the Emerson Resort and Spa and hosted for two days for purpose of this review. As always, all opinions are my own.


The Perfect Family Getaway at the Emerson Resort and Spa


The Emerson Resort and Spa is located in the town of Mt. Tremper, about two hours north of Manhattan and about a three hour drive from where we live on the south shore of Long Island. Located In the Catskill Mountains, this resort is situated on the Esopus Creek, making it the perfect place to relax in beautiful, natural surroundings.

The resort is just about to celebrate its 25th anniversary, and the property is a unique collection of lodging, dining, outdoor amenities and retail shops! On property, you can also find the World’s Largest Kaleidoscope – but more about that in a minute!


Emerson Resort and Spa Rooms

The Emerson Resort and Spa is made up of several lodging options. We stayed in the main building, called the inn, in a Royal Suite. Our room was amazing! Equipped with two queen beds, a working fireplace, a balcony, and a gorgeous bathroom, this room was perfect for our family of three guests! I loved the balcony, where you could sit and hear the creek roll by, as well as the fireplace to get all nice and cozy after a long day. Adults and the kids enjoyed the giant, Jacuzzi tub and I always love a hotel room that provides a Keurig and fridge!

Room 502 at the Emerson Resort and Spa

The rooms were equipped with lush robes and slippers for the guests’ use. My daughter LOVED these amenities!

Other lodging options at the Emerson Resort include lodge style accommodations. These rustic, alpine inspired lodges have rooms that can accommodate 2-6 guests, making it the perfect choice for larger families. All in all, there are 56 rooms at the Emerson, in seven different categories – so something for every family size and travel style.

photo courtesy of the Emerson Resort and Spa


Check out a tour of our room, #502

Emerson Resort Spa

The Emerson Resort is known for its world class spa. Located right in the heart of the inn, there are ten treatment rooms, including ones equipped for couple’s massage! The Emerson also has a hair and nail salon. Since I visited with my children, I was lucky enough to sneak away to use the hot tub located in the back of the spa, but sadly did not book a treatment.

Obviously, I need to go back!

Across from the spa is a full gym, which I did manage to use, and on the lower level is a class studio where yoga, Pilates, and other group fitness classes are offered!

Emerson Resort and Spa Hot Tub


Emerson Resort Dining

There are two dining options at the Emerson Resort and Spa – Woodnotes Grille for a sit-down but casual meal, and Ralph’s Café, located in the shops.

We ate dinner and breakfast (twice) at Woodnotes, and loved the variety of options – including vegetarian and gluten free choices. These is also a kids’ menu for the little ones.

Woodnotes has a variety of seating options. One morning we had breakfast inside, while the following morning, we chose to eat out on the patio! For dinner we chose to eat in the bar area (my  kids love high tables, go figure). It’s also worth noting  that Woodnotes has a full bar as well, and poured a very delicious Chardonnay!

The more casual eatery, Ralph’s Café is located at the far end of the shops, and one afternoon we stopped in for some ice cream. They offered small snacks, sandwiches and coffees as well.

Breakfast at the Emerson Resort and Spa

Emerson Resort Shopping

Before offering lodging, the shops at the Emerson Resort were built out of an old farm house to offer more retail options for the surrounding  area. Now, the shops are connected to the inn and restaurant by  a long hallway.

The shops include something for everyone – a toy store, a homewares store, a woman . and men’s clothing store, a little country store with fun stuff to peruse, and of course, the Kaleido-store – which is where the world’s largest kaleidoscope is housed!


Activities at the Emerson Resort including the World’s Largest Kaleidoscope

A visit to the Emerson can be as relaxing, or active as you would like! When I stayed with my  two kids, we of course needed to explore all the fun things to do on the property!

The World’s Largest Kaleidoscope – Located in the shops at the Emerson, the world’s largest kaleidoscope is a 10-minute show that you watch in a dark room with about 10 other guests. The Kaleidoscope is housed in an old farm silo and you can view the overhead show by leaning back on a platform, or by just lying on the floor and looking up! This was such a unique experience, it’s definitely one you must check out!

World's Largest Kaledoscope

We also loved looking around in the Kaleido-store. Many of the kaleidoscopes you are encouraged to try and play with. Although some of the high end (yes, there were kaleidoscopes that were over $1000) were just for looking  at!


Outdoor Pool – The Emerson offers an outdoor pool, complete with lifeguard, lounge chairs and towels. On our trip, we spent some time swimming (kids) and lounging (me). The outdoor pool is open in the summer months.

Pool at the Emerson resort and spa


Outdoor Hot Tub – The outdoor hot tub is actually part of the spa and located at the back of the inn. Through the spa, there is a deck with the hot tub, an outdoor living room and some lounge chairs. Guests 16 and up can use the hot tub, so for research purposes, I had to leave the kids in the room and try it out!

The outdoor hot tub is open year round, and this was such a nice spot to relax in! There is also a steam room and sauna in the spa, complimentary for hotel guests.



Recreation for Families – At the Emerson, there were plenty  of things to-do. Down by the pool there is a playground, volleyball court, corn hole and horseshoes. There was also a large grassy area to just run around in!

Playground at the Emerson Resort and Spa

Behind the inn, there was a ping pong table, giant chess, a swing and hammock.

Around the resort, there are many nooks to sit and relax – both inside and outdoors. Knowing this would be a time to relax and hang out, we brought along several games from home (Exploding Kittens, Sponge Bob Yahtzee, Old Maid, and a deck of playing cards) and each evening we could sit in the great room and  play games. Close to the restaurant and bar, I was able to enjoy a glass of wine while we played!

Giant Chess at the Emerson Resort and Spa

Wishin’ I was Fishin’ – Your family can purchase fishing supplies from the front desk and go fishing in the pond! Check out the whole great list of Emerson Amusements.


Evening Fire-pits and S’mores Kits – Around the resort, there are several spots where you can have an attendant build a fire, and you can sit and relax. You can purchase a s’more’s kit from the front desk (complete with roasting stick) and  toast up some marshmallows! Needless to say, this was a huge hit for my  kids! They had never roasted marshmallows, and loved their nice hot s’mores!

S'more's at the Emerson Resort

There is also a ton of events offered at the Emerson – from kids’ movement classes, to nature walks, to river snorkeling! Check out the calendar of events as you plan your visit!



Things to do near the Emerson Resort

Honestly, you could  be completely content with never leaving the Emerson resort – I mean you have all you need right on the property! But on our recent visit, we did venture out to do a few cool things in the local area.


Hunter Mountain – On our first day, we rode over to  Hunter Mountain. Now of course, in the winter, Hunter is a great place to ski (and the Emerson is the perfect place to stay), but in the summer, there are still a few things to do at Hunter.

On our recent visit, we took the Scenic Skyride to the summit of the mountain. The Scenic Skyride is essentially the six-person ski lift which takes you to the top of Hunter Mountain in 11 minutes. Once at the top, you can walk around, hike a few trails, and hang out at the summit. There are picnic tables if you want to bring a picnic. Tickets include your trip down as well!

Scenic Skyride at Hunter Mountain

PS It was so funny going DOWN the mountain in the ski lift!

For older kids, and adventurous adults, in the summer Hunter Mountain is home to New York Zipline Canopy Tours. This is the largest zipline canopy tour in North America (second in the world) that takes you from one mountain TO ANOTHER! We saw people zip lining  and it looked petrifying, but exciting! Unfortunately my kids were too small (in terms of weight) so maybe we can try this on another visit.

For kids 4’2” and taller (which baby girl is not) there is a small, but high, ropes course near the ski lodge. Named Adventure Tower, this was something  my kids desperately wanted to do, but maybe next time!



Rail Explorers – If you are not going to do anything else while staying at the Emerson Resort and Spa, you have to check out Rail Explorers! There is just nothing like it!

This was such a cool and unique experience. It was very relaxing and a great way to explore the local area. We even saw a bald eagle on our trip! Check out my full Rail Explorers review.

Rail Explorers Catskillls
Momma To Go would like to thank Rail Explorers for hosting us


Tubing on the Esopus River – This is an activity for kids age 12 and up, so sadly we were too small for this as well. This sounds like something I would love, but apparently the rapids are pretty rough, so its recommended for older kids and adults. The Town Tinker Tube depot is located really close to the Emerson, so definitely something to check out while in the area!



Emerson Resort and Spa Review

Needless to say, my kids and  I had a great time at the Emerson. We stayed for two nights, and that was a great amount of time. The Emerson would be the perfect location for all types of  trips – a girlfriend’s getaway, a couple’s trip, or a family gathering. The Emerson is also dog-friendly and we saw many guests walking around with their pooch. There is even a dog run out by the pool! You can make your stay catered to your needs and interests. I can also see this being the type of resort where folks visit year after year!

Great Room at the Emerson Resort and Spa
photo courtesy of the Emerson Resort and Spa

Everything at the Emerson Resort and Spa was beautifully decorated and the staff was incredibly  accommodating! Everyone we encountered went above and beyond  to ensure we had a great time. This is truly a luxurious getaway in beautiful, natural surroundings.

Our room was so comfortable with the fireplace, soaking tub, and balcony overlooking the mountain. Locals are also encouraged to come use the grounds, shop at the store, use the dog run and the fitness classes are open to the public as well (for a fee). The atmosphere at the Emerson is so inviting, I can see why those from near, or far, would want to spend time here!

Emerson Resort and Spa

I loved visiting with the kids – they had a blast and were fairly good about learning how to slow down and relax (oh don’t worry – there is Wi-Fi in the guest rooms and an in room TV with every channel you could want!). I would love to go back for an adult trip and use the spa and spend more time just sitting and relaxing. Snuggling up with a good book, and a glass of wine!

I highly recommend a visit to the Emerson – take a break from your busy schedule, relax, connect, and enjoy the beautiful mountain surroundings!


Have you been to the Emerson Resort and Spa?



Emerson Resort and Spa


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11 Comments to “The Perfect Family Getaway at the Emerson Resort and Spa”

  1. Christa

    I grew up in NYC and used to vacation at the Catskills. I haven’t been there in years! It still looks gorgeous and like a wonderful place for a family vacation.

  2. Margie

    Emerson looks like a great place for a family getaway. My kids would have loved the tubing and the high ropes course but not old enough for the rapids.


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